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HD local stations via a Clear QAM tuner

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by diabolos, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. diabolos

    diabolos Guest

    I have been doing some research into QAM (256 QAM/Clear QAM) tuners. It seems that it is possible to recieve HD local channels, and any digital channels for that matter that are [bold]unscrambled[/bold], by simply using a 256 QAM tuner without the need for a "Digital Cable" subscription or box (or cable-card). I just wanted to know if anyone here at AD has any knowlege on the subject. I hope this is true because I wouldn't mind paying for basic cable service if I could get my local channels in HD like I can now over-the-air (for free)!

    People could get all of these channels with "Basic/Standard Cable" service through Time Warner Cable (TWC).

    Thankz,
    Ced
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2005
  2. pmaknelho

    pmaknelho Regular member

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    I've heard of people getting unbelievable HD picture from an antenna better than HD cable. It depends on where you live. There's a website you need to type in your zip code and it'll tell you if which channels you can get reception from depending on how far you are from the source towers. If you need the website let me know and I'll look to see if I can find it again.
     
  3. diabolos

    diabolos Guest

    The site is Antennaweb.org and I already knew all of that. That wasn't even my question! (not to be rude). Another great site is Titantv.com, it lets you see what is being broadcast in your area through every medium (air, cable, and satellite).

    I'm asking if anyone here knows if TWC offers unscrambled HD local channels and if it is possible to recieve these channels using a store bought clear QAM tuner. I also wanted to know what level of service is reqired. Basic/Standard, Digital, or HD. The posts I read said that TWC broadcasts all local channels, analog and digital, even with Basic service (without a rented cable box or cable card).


    FYI: I have a large outdoor anntena pointing at my city (Cincinnati, OH) and I receive my digital channels perfectly fine with my tvs built-in DTV tuner (ATSC). Antenna receiption is better than cable and satellight because its not as compressed. To my understanding the 64 QAM compression method that cable companies use for coaxial cable transmittion is inferior to the ATSC's 8VSB compression scheme for over-the-air transmittion. But, newer systems using 256 QAM and 16-VSB along with MPEG-4 are on there way which should give cable and DBS a slight advantage.

    With that said I still want to use cable if I can. I want more veriety. I guess I want to know how many unscrambled HD channels TWC offers.

    Ced
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2005
  4. pmaknelho

    pmaknelho Regular member

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    I don't know what TWC offers since in my area we get comcast. Not to be rude but, if you want to know how many unscrambled HD channels TWC offers, ask TWC. From your first post you used words like "it seems possible" and "I hope this is true". I was just simply verifing your uncertainess.
     
  5. diabolos

    diabolos Guest

    Well I don't trust internet sources as truth. In this case I guess I'm going to have too. The main issue is that I don't believe TWC reps even know that digital channels are being carried along side analog signals in their cable system.

    Its like this too. I sell tvs with digital cable card slots so that people don't have to use the cable box to get thier digital and HD cable programming. Alot of customers are told that TWC doesn't give out cable cards and that a cable box is manditory. After a couple of phone calls TWC finaly admits that they do have cable cards and that the cable cards must be installed/uninstalled by a TWC installer (cable guy). A cable card is basicly a QAM tuner with the ability to decrypt a certain cable companies premium channels. A cable box is the samething except it also has the ability to do two-way comunication.

    Since all of this seems to center around TWC not wanting to loose any more money (in renting fees and premium service charges) by offering people cable cards or worse basic cable that doesn't require a box at all. If people knew they could get HD local channels through their basic cable service they wouldn't bother with digital cable services unless it really ment alot to them.

    Since I do sell TWC I have the card of one of thier reps in my wallet so I can call then about anything. I just don't know if I should. Would you tell a salesmen something you didn't want all of your customers to know?

    Also, does anyone know of any cable service providers that offer HD local channels other than TWC? I think I read that Comcast did, event though they had different packages. Does everyone know what a QAM tuner is?

    Ced
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2005
  6. ShaunT

    ShaunT Member

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    Hello there, of course we prefer all of our customers to use digital service, however you can get the same HD stations over cable as you do over the air by using a clear QAM tuner with BASIC service. You simply need to tune to the QAM frequency that the HD signal is carried on. The QAM frequency is usualy listed next to the channel number or call letters of the station in most listings, or at titantv.com. No you still cannot tune in digital or premium channels without a STB. All cable companies are required to carry the HD signals in the clear, but this only applies to stations which already broadcast HD signals OTA in your area. TWC and other cable companies have carriage agreements with distant carriers such as Discovery Channel HD, ESPN HD and other "premium HD" channels which can only be accessed by using a STB or cable card and paying an additional subscription fee for them, and we are not required to provide these channels in the clear because we pay the carriers for them, so u pay us. :)

    Shaun

    Your very friendly TWC Rep!
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2005
  7. diabolos

    diabolos Guest

    Thanks Shaun your awsome. I think its time for me to get basic cable then.

    One (more) question though. I understand that TWC must carry the digital local channels in the clear because the FCC says so but will thier be any other clear QAM digital channels available in the future? Not premium but free channels that come with basic service that arn't broadcast OTA in a certain area. Kinda like the analog channels are now (CH 3-87).

    I guess I'm asking will those analog channels become digital channels? Will they be analog untill there isn't a need for them anymore?

    If you don't know its cool its kind of a wierd question anyway. I'm still glad to have gotten such a well written confirmation. Thankz again!

    -Ced

    Your very appreciative Best Buy associate!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2005
  8. timsyrell

    timsyrell Member

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    Shaun,

    I live in Glens Falls, NY and subscribe to a T-W Digital/HD package. If I purchase a clear-QAM compliant card, will my T-W box pass through a true HD signal to that tuner card in my PC? I currently have an HP Media Center PC with a Hauppauge WinTV PVR PCI II (26xxx) card in it. While this certainly displays all my T-W channels and will also record them, it doesn't have HD output capability to my Sony SDM HS-95P monitor. I already have a T-W SAExplorer 8300HD DVR, and can record programs on that device, however, I'd love to record HD quality and play it back on my PC as well. I'm heading toward the Microsoft Media Center Extender concept, with all my entertainment (music, pics, video, internet) accessible via my LAN and a XBox 360 (or some other compatible device), and the HD on my PC is part of the overall plan. Any thoughts or answers?

    Tim
     
  9. ShaunT

    ShaunT Member

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    Hi Tim,

    Actually you would just need to connect a HDTV Tuner Card directly to the cable outlet. The output of the cable box (componet or HDMI) will only send the signal from the channel you have it tuned to. Here is a good website to check out regarding clear QAM tuner cards. http://www.ramelectronics.net/html/hdtv-cards.html Each card has it own level of functionality depending on the type of card you buy. I hope this is helpful.

    Shaun
     
  10. ShaunT

    ShaunT Member

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    Hey Ced,

    In answer to your question about future free channels being available unencrypted, I don't know, possibly, depends mainly on what becomes available in your area in the future. Most new HD channels that come out which are not being broadcast OTA are usually placed into a digital tier and encrypted.
     
  11. timsyrell

    timsyrell Member

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    Shaun,

    Thanks for the reply. Offhand, do you know if my HP MediaCenter PC's remote will have any affect on that HD tuner? As things are currently arranged, the HP remote will (quite nicely, I must add...) control the channels on my T-W box and volume on the Media Center, via the HP IR supplied with my computer. I must correct my previous submission, however, in that I have 3 boxes in my house: 2 of the SA Explorer 8300HD DVR's, which are connected to HD TV sets, and 1 SA Explorer 3250HD which is presently connected to my PC's Hauppauge WinTV PVR PCI II (26xxx) card.

    Thanks,
    Tim
     
  12. Pavelow4

    Pavelow4 Member

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    ShuanT,

    I live in Albuquerque and have Comcast Basic Plus. I have a Mitsubishi HDTV with a QAM tuner. I can get the local HD channels that Comcast provides "in the clear" (unscambled). One of the channels had sound issues last night that finally cleared up after the national broadcast was over. I told Comcast this and they insisted that I was receiving the HD channel via my ATSC tuner and the cable was acting as an antenna!! I told them no, and that the QAM tuner was recieving the Comcast delivered signal. They would not honor any service for my HD channels unless I paid for the CableCard or STB. This despite the fact that the local HD channels are listed as "B" for Basic service in accordance with FCC regulations. Can you tell me how to convince the Comcast folks to provide service support for the "B" local HD channels? What language must I use? Who do I ask to talk to here in ABQ?
     
  13. netcastle

    netcastle Member

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    Pavelow4,

    What sound issues are you talking about? I am tuning in clear QAM from Comcast basic in Shaumburg IL with an eyetv 500, and when I try to tune in Fox some programs are in spanish and some are in English. It seems like there is no rhyme or reason to it. Can anyone help me elucidate this problem?

    T
     

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